Sending a Follow-Up Email: What NOT to do (and what to do instead)

“I wanted to get in touch as I noticed that you opened the email that was sent recently but did not register for the class.” There was more to the email – at least 3 long paragraphs – but I didn’t read it; they lost me at that first sentence! I felt like someone was looking right over my shoulder, watching what I’d do next! My very next step was to delete the message and I swore to never read one of their emails again!

Along with most people, I am fully aware that there is monitoring going on behind the scenes, someone watching my every click. We see that in the margins of websites we visit, remarketing to us with advertisements from the pages we’ve previously visited. Sometimes we’re surprised by it, and sometimes it even reminds us and we go back for more. When the message is positive it can work very well. “Thank you for your purchase,” is perfectly appropriate.

But when you state it directly like they did in that email to me, it takes on a whole different quality. “I noticed you did this…” is too familiar, too personal. The writer sounds like a voyeur, looking over my shoulder, monitoring me. This approach can make the reader feel defensive and generate a negative response – completely opposite what the marketer intended, I’m sure!

Have you thought about reaching out to people who didn’t take the action you wanted them to take so you could nudge them a bit further? It’s a good idea and, just as there are negative, unproductive ways to do this, there are also positive, useful ways to encourage the action you want.

So what can you do to reach out a second time and encourage your readers to take action? Go ahead and send another email, and try incorporating one of these statements:

  • “Just a reminder…”
  • “We thought you would be interested…”
  • “Don’t forget…”
  • “I was just checking in to make sure you saw this…”
  • “We’re running this special offer and you came to mind…”

The reason this approach is more likely to work is because your message is focused on benefits of the action you want the reader to take. It’s about the value that the reader would gain if they were to choose to take the action. At the same time, it doesn’t bring attention to the fact that you can see what actions they have or have not already taken.

If you do this, I recommend that you keep the email brief. Don’t include all of the finer details. Focus solely on the benefits by highlighting two or three things that they might find interesting, and that’s it. If they want to know more, they’ll click! If they don’t, maybe they truly aren’t interested. Try again next time.

Remarketing in this way – with a personal message – can actually work very well when it’s done in the right way. But do it the wrong way and you can lose a customer forever!